Why don’t we do what we know to do?

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Most people who join a First Place 4 Health group discover many things that they did not know and needed to know. But most also come with far more knowledge on how to live a healthy and balanced life than they are living. Why don’t we do what we need to do when we already know so much?  There are many obvious and often subtle reasons why we do not live successful lives. There are also very purposeful components of the First Place 4 Health program that enlighten, empower and encourage overcoming these obstacles. Obstacles such as, lack of discipline, half-truths, discouragement, grief, and self-esteem.

The Freeing Power of Discipline

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize: Run, in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 
I Corinthians 9: 24-25

The Olympics have been an incredible display of talent and power. Seeing these athletes perform for their event may take only moments – then it is over, but getting there was a long and demanding journey. Seeing the precision and skill is a clear indication of many hours of preparation. I would like to run like the sprinters, flip like the gymnast, and glide like the swimmers. But I can’t. I can’t even come close – because I have not paid the price. These competitors are freed to do what the average person cannot do because they gave up some freedom for purposeful discipline.  Not everyone can be an Olympic medalist even with practice, but we can develop some of the skill with committed attention.

First Place 4 Health is about goals – but often not the goals that bring the most new members. Many want a new look – but what they can get is a new lease on life. Like the athlete, it begins with the first step of “getting with it.”

Ours is an undisciplined age. The old disciplines are breaking down…Above all, the discipline of grace is derided as legalism or is entirely unknown to a generation that is largely illiterate in the Scriptures. We need the rugged strength of Christian character that can come only from discipline.  V. Ray Edman The Disciplines of Life

Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual disciplines have been part of the Christian faith since the early church. Some dislike the thought of following a prescribed order of discipline. They fear that the order may become a substitute for authentic faith, and it can become legalism. But a well-ordered schedule that includes spiritual focus can free us from being captive to a powerless faith. Building into our lives elements that will strengthen our understanding of God, others and ourselves empowers us to live in harmony with God’s purpose. To try to understand life on our own leads to misunderstanding, hurts and lost opportunities.

Some of the ancient disciplines include: scripture, prayer, worship, self-giving, fasting, silence, and a teachable spirit.  [For more information on Spiritual Disciplines read:  Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney, Navpress Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster, Harper and Row]

Many of us know that these are important elements for maturing Christians. We just don’t do them well. First Place 4 Health focuses on encouraging spiritual discipline as a key element of a full balanced life. Scripture reading and memorizing are at the heart of the success. Meeting weekly and being held accountable for new spiritual practices is a wonderful way to build these things into our daily lives – to the point that they become so integrated that we feel “unfinished” when we don’t do them.

I wonder what the gold medal winners did the week after the Olympics?  Don’t you think they would miss the water, the weights and the track?  I expect that most kept on running, swimming, and lifting weights.  It is part of their life.  So learn and practice life-changing disciplines in First Place 4 Health – from one week to the next – and for life

Dr. Bill Heston

bheston@fpchouston.org

Dr Bill Heston is Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and is Licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy.